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The Words of Rosamunde Pilcher


Rosamunde Pilcher, OBE (née Scott; 1924 – 2019) wrote romance novels, women's fiction and short stories, between 1949 until her retirement in 2000, selling over 60 million copies of her novels worldwide. Born Rosamunde Scott on 22 September 1924 in Lelant, Cornwall, the daughter of Helen and Charles Scott, a British commander, she began writing when she was seven, and published her first short story when she was 15. On 7 December 1946, she married Graham Hope Pilcher, a war hero, and they moved to Dundee, Scotland. In 1949, Pilcher's first book, a romance novel, was published by Mills and Boon, under the pseudonym Jane Fraser. a name under which she wrote a further ten novels It was the family saga, The Shell Seekers, written in 1987 under her own name, which proved a turning point for her career. In it, an elderly British woman, Penelope Keeling, relives her life in flashbacks. The novel describes the everyday details of what life during World War II was like for many who lived in Britain and sold about ten million copies, making Pilcher one of the highest-earning women in Britain by the mid-1990s. Her other major novels include September (1990), Coming Home (1995) and Winter Solstice (2000). The president of the Romantic Novelists' Association, the romance writer Katie Fforde, considers Pilcher to be 'groundbreaking as she was the first to bring family sagas to the wider public’.

'Loving isn’t finding perfection, but forgiving horrible faults.’

'She believed, of course ... because without something to believe in, life would be intolerable.'

'She thought of the last couple of years: the boredom, the narrowness of existence, the dearth of anything to look forward to. Yet now, in a single instant, the curtains had been whipped aside, and the windows been thrown open onto a brilliant view that had been there, waiting for her, all the time. A view, moreover, laden with the most marvellous possibilities and opportunities.'

'It was good, and nothing good is truly lost. It stays part of a person, becomes part of their character. So part of you goes everywhere with me. And part of me is yours, forever.’

'Being financially secure is truly a life-enhancer; it sweetly oils the wheels of life. But remember: to talk of money, the excess of it or the lack of it, is vulgar to the extreme. One either boasts or whines, and neither makes for good conversation.'

'She may not have believed in God, but I’m pretty certain God believed in her.'

'Marriage isn't a love affair. It isn't even a honeymoon. It's a job. A long hard job, at which both partners have to work, harder than they've worked at anything in their lives before. If it's a good marriage, it changes, it evolves, but it goes on getting better. I've seen it with my own mother and father. But a bad marriage can dissolve in a welter of resentment and acrimony. I've seen that, too, in my own miserable and disastrous attempt at making another person happy. And it's never one person's fault. It's the sum total of a thousand little irritations, disagreements, idiotic details that in a sound alliance would simply be disregarded, or forgotten in the healing act of making love. Divorce isn't a cure, it's a surgical operation, even if there are no children to consider.'

'Fear knocked at the door, Faith went to answer it, and no one was there.'

'She remembered him smiling, and realized that time, that great old healer, had finally accomplished its work, and now, across the years, the face of love no longer stirred up agonies of grief and bitterness. Rather, one was left feeling simply grateful. For how unimaginably empty the past would be without him to remember.'

'As long as Mumma was alive, she knew that some small part of herself had remained a child, cherished and adored. Perhaps you never completely grew up until your mother died.'

'Happiness is making the most of what you have, and riches is making the most of what you've got.'

'Not his real name, darling, but my own name for him. I never thought it could be like this. I never thought one could be so close, and yet so different to a single human being. He is everything I've never been, and yet I love him more than any person or anything I've ever known.'

'And the wicked thing is, that when we're really upset, we always take it out on the people who are closest and whom we love the most.'

'She yawned and stretched, and settled back again on her pillows and thought how perfect it would be if sleep could not only restore one but iron out all anxieties in the same process, so that one could wake with a totally clear and untroubled mind, as smooth and empty as a beach, washed and ironed by the outgoing tide.'

'It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. Arrival often brings nothing but a sense of desolation and disappointment.'

'The greatest gift a parent can leave a child is that parent's own independence.’

'Things happen they way they're meant to. There's a pattern and a shape to everything...Nothing happens without a reason...Nothing is impossible...'

'Grief was like a terrible burden, but at least you could lay it down by the side of the road and walk away from it. Antonia had come only a few paces, but already she could turn and look back and not weep. It wasn't anything to do with forgetting. It was just accepting. Nothing was ever so bad once you had accepted it.'

'Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.'

'Alone. She realized how much she had missed the luxury of solitude, and knew that its occasional comfort would always be essential to her. The pleasure of being on one's own was not so much spiritual as sensuous, like wearing silk, or swimming without a bathing suit, or walking along a totally empty beach with the sun on your back. One was restored by solitude. Refreshed.'

'She put out her hand and touched his forearm, as she would have touched some piece of porcelain or sculpture, just for the sheer animal pleasure of feeling its shape and curve beneath her fingertips.'

'Grief is a funny thing because you don't have to carry it with you for the rest of your life. After a bit you set it down by the roadside and walk on and leave it resting there.'

'I wasn't good enough. I had a little talent but not enough. There is nothing more discouraging than having just a little talent.'

'Life is so extraordinary. Wonderful surprises are just around the most unexpected corners.'


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